Korematsu vs. U.S. (1944) Mock Trial
Potential Examination Questions
Witness Direct and Cross Examination
J. Edgar Hoover
Direct Examination Questions:
What did your department do in the 48 hours following the Pearl Harbor attack? (arrested over 1,000 Japanese that may be disloyal)
In your professional opinion, how many potentially dangerous aliens remain walking free? (none)
In your opinion what are the least restrictive means to prevent espionage? ( I feel like the measures I have already taken are the least restrictive means)
Cross Examination Questions (Plan is to try to get away with not giving any quality answers during the trial. I don’t think that the lawyers will attack me very much.)
Is it possible for you to know of every potential spy on the west coast? The FBI is fully aware and ready for any possible espionage activities.
What about the second-generation Japanese? Are they dangerous?
I think we have apprehended everyone we needed to.
Direct Examination Questions
Cross Examination Questions (There’s not really a way around these questions so we’re going to answer them straightforwardly.)
Did you see the order? Yes.
Did you deliberately disobey the order? Yes.
Did you intentionally try to avoid incarceration? Yes.
In this project, we first learned about the original case that our mock trial was based off. We then were separated into three groups: Judges, Lawyers, and Witnesses. I was a witness. My job was to compile evidence for the two characters I portrayed (Fred Korematsu and J. Edgar Hoover) and educate myself on who they were and what they were like. Fred Korematsu was a second-generation Japanese immigrant who attempted to evade Executive Order 9066 (which established the Japanese internment camps) and later sued the United States in the trial we recreated. J. Edgar Hoover was the director of the FBI for over 45 years. He felt slighted that the government thought the FBI wasn't enough to prevent espionage and testified against them in the trial. The aim of our side was to point out that the law did not meet the three tests of strict scrutiny.
I think the defense won, mostly because of their closing statement. I felt that other than Rollin's obscure law thing that he had, the prosecution didn't really put together a compelling argument. I felt a bit of overconfidence from my side right from the start, and I feel like some members of our team, myself included, might not have prepared as well as we could have. I could not see any point at all in several cross examinations. I certainly think I could have been a more charismatic witness. Our side took my lines about how I thought the FBI had apprehended all possible spies and then did nothing as the defense tried to disprove it. At the end the defense's side of that story got remembered I think, because my part was told right at the beginning and never mentioned again.
But the real reason I think the defense won was their closing statement. Kaitlyn did a much better job than Rollin in that aspect, pointing out evidence that we hadn't even remotely tried to contradict. This is again resulting from some weak cross examination, but the overall flow of the argument was much better as well. I won't pretend to know who took more time on theirs, but it definitely seemed to me that Kaitlyn was more prepared in that aspect. She went over the tests of strict scrutiny, which for some reason our side didn't even mention, despite all the planning beforehand.
I enjoyed this project the most when we were actually in the courtroom. That was a great experience and I'm really glad we had our exhibition there instead of in Ashley's room or something. It actually seemed somewhat authentic until the judges didn't know the law as well as Rollin did. I think some improvements that could be made might be the addition of a script for each side to go over separately prior to the trial. Then the direct examination could be delivered better. Or each side could have just prepared it more, since I think it was pretty evident from both sides that we didn't that much. I was a little bit frustrated by the lawyers not really listening to any input I had on mid-trial strategy. I felt that by revisiting and therefore reiterating some of Hoover's evidence we could have produced a more compelling argument. There seemed to be a bit too much assumption from our side that everyone else would understand what we were talking about, when in reality they didn't and it made some of our arguments seem pointless.
2nd Generation Japanese-American (Nisei)
Detained under Executive order 9066 (Japanese Internment camps)
My name is Fred Korematsu. I am a second-generation american citizen. Directly after Pearl Harbor, I was fired from my job. I got a new job, but was immediately fired when the owner, who had been on vacation, discovered that he had “a Jap” working at his company. I felt that people’s opinions of Japanese-Americans were steadily becoming worse and worse. Soon after, my fears were realized. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 went into effect, detaining my whole family. I believe that it is an unconstitutional act that should be repealed and thus I am appealing my case to the Supreme Court. I believe that Executive Order 9066 is infringing upon my rights as a citizen of the United States of America.
When I heard about my impending incarceration, I took action. I changed my name and got had eyelid surgery in an effort to look less Japanese. I carried on the act for a month, claiming to be of Hispanic and Hawaiian heritage .I believed it was unjust for the US to detain me, and I wanted to stay with my girlfriend. I attempted to leave the state, where I could be free from worry. However, his was not to be. I was found by a police officer in San Francisco and was jailed. In jail, I met with Ernest Besig, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He posted my bail and attempted to leave with me. However, I was not allowed to leave, and was detained further and eventually convicted of disobeying Executive Order 9066 and was sent to the Topaz camp, which was reserved for Japanese-americans who the government thought more likely to be spies, and also for disciplinary action for those in the camps or people such as myself. The living conditions were horrible, even to the point where jail was preferable. While at Topaz, Besig met with me again and proposed heading to court with the American Civil Liberties Union. I agreed to be the subject of a case to challenge whether Executive Order 9066 was legal. The case has gone all the way to the Supreme Court and I am hopeful that they will find in my favor.
J. Edgar Hoover Witness Biography
J. Edgar Hoover
Aka John Edgar Hoover
b. 1895 d. 1972
Founder and Director of FBI from 1924-1972
My name is J. Edgar Hoover. I am the Director of the FBI. I am opposed to the Japanese internment camps. This is not necessarily because I think they are wrong or uncalled for, but in part because I believe the government doesn’t have trust in the FBI to track down any possible spies. I think that the FBI has confirmed that there are no Japanese spies on the West Coast and am indignant that the government would suggest otherwise. Morally, I don’t find a huge problem with this, but I will pretend to in order to get the government to stop interfering with the FBI’s responsibilities. I believe that there is very little actual data to support a removal and there is pressure for removal from the fear of the general public. I don’t necessarily believe that all Japanese-Americans are loyal, but I strongly believe that the FBI has the situation under control and there is no need to assume that my department (and therefore myself) is not doing the job we are assigned to do. I feel like the FBI had already apprehended all people that may have an affiliation with the Japanese government or betraying the United States in that manner. There is no need for the deportation of Japanese-Americans, and I feel that the call for one means a lack of trust in the FBI to do its job, which offends me greatly. I don’t think that race or ethnicity is a reason for treachery, and therefore believe that they are more or less useless. I have been against this dating back to Pearl Harbor, where the FBI was accused of failing to notice and detain Japanese saboteurs. I maintained that there were no saboteurs and that the damage was done solely by the Japanese Navy, and was later proven to be correct. Still, the accusations stung a bit and I do not want to be accused of not doing my job properly once again.